Grateful Dead lives in Lexington



Thanks to local music legend Lee Owen, Lexingtonians now have a reason to look forward to Monday. In November 2014, Owen began hosting what he calls ‘Grateful Monday’ at Cosmic Charlie’s on the corner of Euclid Avenue and Woodland Avenue, from 9 pm to midnight.

Each week, Owen and a rotating cast of musicians, often from one of the four bands he regularly plays in, perform songs from the vast library of the Grateful Dead. According to Owen, the idea for the weekly event was taken from a friend.

“I met Dave Hebert of the Jerry Garcia Band several years ago at a festival at Legend

Valley in Ohio,” Owen said. “We became friends and started networking, and soon thereafter he moved to Arizona, where he started hosting a Grateful Dead night every week at a local bar.

I thought it was a great idea, so I called up John (Tresaloni) from Cosmic Charlie’s to talk about scheduling something similar, and he immediately said ‘OK.’” Owen is known for being one of the founding members of Born Cross Eyed, a local Grateful Dead cover band that was founded in 1991 and still performs today.

Born Cross Eyed first got its start performing at the Jefferson Davis Inn, where guitarist Kirk Harrod worked as a bartender.

“We started playing on $0.25 beer nights, and from there things took off,” Owen said. “Every college town has a Grateful Dead cover band. Lexington didn’t have that.”

In the late ‘90s, Owen moved back to his hometown of Nashville, Tenn., where he worked on music row and performed with Vassar Clements and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among others. In 2000, Owen decided to move back to Lexington to work for his college roommate, and to rejoin Born Cross Eyed, who he’s been performing with ever since.

JP Nowak of the band Cornmeal, Dino English of Dark Star Orchestra, and Todd Copeland of Green Genes all rotate playing the second set of drums in the band, behind regular Mark Vanderboegh. Other band members include Chris Fuller on the keyboard and saxophone, Brandon Bowlds on bass, and Joey David and Harrod on guitar.

A Born Cross Eyed show is a sight to behold. They often pack the bars and clubs they perform in to capacity with their die-hard fans. Born Cross Eyed is worth seeing every time they play for their amazing sound and the energy they bring to the stage. The band members truly love what they’re doing, and aren’t just in it for the money like countless other cover bands.

Owen’s other three bands all have their own unique styles of music that make them one of a kind. Owsley County, formerly known as the Very Garcia Band, covers several songs by the Beatles, Steely Dan, Phish, and others, as well as performing their own originals.

Owen’s next performance with Born Cross Eyed is Saturday, April 25, at Cosmic Charlie’s at 10 p.m.